Check if you can get 'new style' JSA

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

You might be able to get 'new style' Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for up to 6 months while you look for a job. You can get it while you’re out of work, or if you’re working less than 16 hours a week.

You'll usually need to show you're looking for a full time job to claim new style JSA - this is 35 hours or more a week. You can look for a job with less hours and still be eligible if:

  • you're a carer

  • you’re responsible for children aged under 13

  • you can’t work full time because of a disability or illness

You can claim new style JSA on its own or with Universal Credit - check if you can get Universal Credit.

There are 2 old types of JSA, which some people are still getting - they’re called ‘income-based’ or ‘contribution-based’.

You can only apply for income-based JSA if you’re already getting contribution-based JSA - check if you can get income-based JSA.

You can’t make a new claim for contribution-based JSA.

Check if you can get new style JSA

You can claim new style JSA if:

  • you've worked and paid Class 1 National Insurance in the last 2 to 3 years

  • you're 18 or over and under State Pension age

You should also be:

  • working less than 16 hours a week

  • available to work

  • actively looking for work

  • not in full-time education

  • not claiming Income Support

You can’t get new style JSA if you:

  • are under 18, but there are some exceptions if you’re 16 or 17

  • have an illness or disability which means you can’t work – you should check if you can get ESA instead

You can contact your nearest Citizens Advice to find out what help you can get.

If you’re applying for new style JSA it doesn’t matter what country you’re from.

If you can’t get new style JSA

Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit - if you are, you can apply for that instead.

How much JSA you’ll get

If you’re eligible for new style JSA, you can get a 'personal allowance' each week of up to:

  • £71.70 if you’re 18 to 24

  • £90.50 if you’re 25 or over

The exact amount you get will depend on your circumstances - for example, your payment might be less if you work part-time or get a pension.

You can get new style JSA for up to 182 days - this is about 6 months.

If you're 18 or over, you can use the Turn2us benefits calculator to work out how much you can get, or contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

Help with travel costs for jobseekers

You're eligible for some travel assistance if you're a jobseeker. You can get a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card from your local jobcentre.

You need to have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or job hunting and claiming Universal Credit for:

  • between 3 and 9 months if you're 18 to 24 years old

  • between 3 and 12 months if you're 25 or over.

Different travel providers might offer different deals. Once you have your Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, check what's on offer from the transport providers that you need to use.

From ScotRail you'll be able to claim 2 free return tickets per month to go to interviews. Once you get a job, you'll be able to claim a free ScotRail ticket for the first month at work. Read more about the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card scheme on the ScotRail website.

There are also discounts available from Stagecoach. Read more about Jobseeker discounts on the Stagecoach website.

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